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September 12, 2006

New Date Set For Omagh Bomb Trial

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 09/12/06
New Date Set For Omagh Bomb Trial
SF 09/12/06 Further Attacks On Harryville Chapel Condemned - McGuigan
IT 09/12/06 Parents Of Robert Holohan 'Seek Truth' At Inquest
IM 09/12/06 Opin: Renaissance Republicanism
BB 09/12/06 Opin: DUP Miss Partner For Political Dance
IT 09/13/06 Opin: 1926 Fire Tragedy Recalled
BN 09/12/06 Blix Hails Irish Efforts In Combating Nuclear Threat
BN 09/12/06 Strength Of Migration 'Underpins Property Demand'
RT 09/12/06 Aidan Quinn For Dublin Theatre Festival
IT 09/13/06 White House Architect To Be Celebrated


New Date Set For Omagh Bomb Trial

A new date has been set for the start of the Omagh bomb
murder trial, adjourned last week due to the ill health of
the defence barrister.

The case was adjourned because senior counsel Orlando
Pownall has a viral infection. Belfast judge Mr Justice
Weir agreed to adjourn to 25 September.

A woman pregnant with twins was among the 29 people killed
in the attack.

Sean Gerard Hoey, 37, an electrician of Molly Road,
Jonesborough, Armagh, denies all 58 charges against him.

Mr Justice Weir said he wanted to be told immediately if Mr
Pownall could not meet the new date.

If the the trial does not proceed then, the judge said, he
would devise a "backstop solution".

Mr Justice Weir said he wanted to fix a firm date for the
trial to proceed and was not prepared to allow the case to
drift in and out of the lists.

Mr Hoey faces 58 charges including five other bombings,
four bomb conspiracies, and six murder conspiracies.

The only person to be charged with murder in connection
with the 1998 Omagh bombing, the accused has been in
custody for about three years.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/12 14:40:14 GMT


Further Attacks On Harryville Chapel Condemned - McGuigan

Published: 12 September, 2006

Sinn Féin member for the assembly for North Antrim Philip
McGuigan has said he is "disgusted" at the over night
attack on the Church of Our Lady in Harryville, Ballymena.

His comments come after the church was paint bombed over
night. This attack also comes on the back drop of several
sectarian attacks which continue against Nationalist homes
in the town.

Mr McGuigan said:

"I am totally disgusted at last nights attack on Our Lady's
chapel in Harryville. We thought that the church would be
left alone after measures were taken to ease tensions in
the area but unfortunately there are those in the Loyalist
community who wish to continue a campaign of sectarian

"The unfortunate thing is that this isn't the first
incident of its kind to take place on the church. In the
past we have seen petrol bombs, graffiti and windows
smashed. It truly sickens me that people would go out and
do this sort of damage purely to fuel their hatred for
Catholics. I would call on all right thinking Unionist
politicians and community leaders to condemn such bigotry
and to use their influence to get these attacks stopped."


Parents Of Robert Holohan 'Seek Truth' At Inquest

Last updated: 12-09-06, 17:12

The distraught parents of Cork schoolboy Robert Holohan
today said there were still many questions left unanswered
as to how their beloved son had died.

A year and nine months after the death of the 11-year-old
from Ballyedmond in Midleton, Majella Holohan said: "We
just want to know how long did our little boy suffer for."

After the inquest was adjourned, Mrs Holohan said the
family were still hunting for the truth.

Mrs Holohan sat side by side with her husband Mark and four
other family members as the State Pathologist Dr Marie
Cassidy described the injuries found on Robert's body, and
revealed he had died from asphyxia due to compression of
the neck.

Their former neighbour Wayne O'Donoghue, who is serving
four years for the manslaughter of the schoolboy, was not
present or summonsed to attend the inquest in Midleton
Court House.

During his trial, O'Donoghue, 21, said he accidentally
killed the boy in a row over throwing stones at his car.

He later dumped the 11-year-old's body in a ditch at Inch
Strand, and it was found nine days later by searchers.

He was found not guilty of murder, and pleaded guilty to
and was convicted of the boy's manslaughter at Ballyedmond
on January 4, 2005.

Fighting back tears, Mrs Holohan asked Dr Cassidy: "Can you
tell us did Robert suffer?" Dr Cassidy said: "He may have
been struggling but would not have suffered any pain."

The state pathologist described bruising to Robert's body
on the neck, buttocks, right shoulder, tongue and both
lower legs.

She said there were minor injuries to the mouth which could
have been caused by a blow or due to a hand held firmly
over the mouth.

Mrs Holohan said to the court: "You understand we want to
know everything we can otherwise we won't get closure."

Mr Holohan said only Wayne O'Donoghue knew how long he had
held Robert for.

"With all the evidence we still don't have answers, how
long did Wayne O'Donoghue strangle our little boy for," Mrs
Holohan said.

"We just want to know how long did our little boy suffer

Mrs Holohan raised questions during her victim impact
statement about how her son had died and why semen was
found on his body.

After he was sentenced, O'Donoghue's solicitor, Frank
Buttimer, immediately denied any suggestion of sexual
impropriety on behalf of his client.

During the inquest Mrs Holohan queried trace swabs taken
from Robert's hand during post mortem. Dr Cassidy said she
could not comment on forensic evidence.

Earlier as Det Sgt Brian Goulding described the search, the
discovery of Robert's body and O'Donoghue's subsequent
trial, Mark Holohan asked: "Do you think there was a sexual
motive in the killing of Robert Holohan ?"

The coroner for south Cork Frank O'Connell said: "Obviously
a very important question from your point of view but I
cannot let that be investigated here today."

Dr Cassidy said Robert appeared sexually immature. "There
was no evidence of a violent or forceful sexual assault, as
there were no injuries to his penis or anus."

The inquest was adjourned under Section 25 (2) of the
Coroner's Act as the DPP's appeal against the leniency of
O'Donoghue's four-year sentence is being considered by the
Court of Criminal Appeal.

© 2006


Opin: Renaissance Republicanism

National Miscellaneous Opinion/Analysis Tuesday
September 12, 2006 21:48 by Mick Hall

Renaissance Republicanism

Mick Hall • 8 September 2006

It is no secret that an increasing numbers of Irish
Republicans have become disillusioned with the Good Friday
Agreement and disconcerted with SF's inability to get the
British State to enforce the terms of the agreement upon
Unionism. This despite the Provisional Republican Movement
having committed itself to honoring its side of the
agreement, which has meant it has overseen the
decommissioning of most of its armory and stood down all
but its most senior Volunteers, both of which went against
the wishes of the majority of the organization's volunteers
and the historic traditions of Óglaigh na hÉireann.
Nevertheless, despite the aforementioned lack of forward
movement, the PRM leadership having signed up to the GFA
hook, line and sinker still rigidly adheres to it as if
there is no alternative but to bend the knee to ever more
demands from the Unionist politicians.

It is hardly surprising three dozen or so Irish Republicans
considered getting together in Toomebridge to have a chat
about the future of their country and the role of Irish
Republicanism within it. They came from a myriad of
Republican organizations and none. Amongst their number
were soldiers, politicians, trade unionists, political
activists, the unemployed, writers and academics. In the
main they came from the working classes and those who toil
on the land, but as the aforementioned professions suggest,
there is a sprinkling of middle class people amongst their
number. They themselves make no mention of armed struggle
for this was not the purpose of the meeting, which
basically boils down to 'Whither Irish Republicanism,'
circa 2006. True, some will be advocates of Abstentionist
Armed Struggle, others, whilst recognizing the right of
Irishmen and women to take up arms to end the British
State's occupation of the north east of Ireland, which is
after all maintained by force of British arms, believe that
there is not the will within core Republican communities
for a return to war, nor would that option in all
probability meet with any more success today than it did
during the 'Long War'. However, what all of these
Republicans have in common is they openly raise the
question as to there being a need for an alternative,
organized Republican prospective to the Good Friday

These Republicans all agree that the PRM, in its head-long
rush for political power has made one compromise too many,
and in the cold light of day, for all their trashing of
Republican values and decommissioning of arms, they have
very little to show for it politically. Indeed, in the
South they have no more parliamentary seats in Dáil Éireann
than the Workers Party, a previous split from
Republicanism, achieved in its heyday. In the north, little
political progress has been made as the Unionists still
refuse to sit with SF in a devolved local government. After
each compromise, designed by SF to kick start the
negotiations to bring about a devolved government, the
Unionists and their British masters raise the bar and
demand yet another bout of self flagellation from the
Shinners. The latest obstacle the Unionists claim is SF's
refusal to help administer the colonial Police Service
Northern Ireland. Mr Adams once again claims this is a
rubicon he will not cross, yet few believe him as he was
part of a leadership that toured the country telling their
members 'not an ounce or a single bullet', only for the
unfortunate-but-ultra-loyal Seanna Walsh to appear on TV to
tell volunteers that they had been made redundant as the
business was downsizing. A thesis could be written about
how Mr Adams abuses people's loyalty and turns something
which is an admirable human characteristic into a weakness,
bordering on a betrayal, whilst keeping his own reputation

So why has the media, NI's politicians and in all
probability the security forces, got themselves into such a
dizzy spin over this proposed meeting in Toomebridge? More
to the point, why did SF get called in to put a stop to it,
for that is the only conclusion one can draw from the
cancellation of the meeting at such short notice. There is
real irony here if the claims being made about the local
council being pressurized to cancel the venue are true, for
how many times in the past, did the Dublin government
pressurize public and private organizations not to rent SF
a Hall to hold its annual Ard Fheis in?

I could continue this essay, add this or that as to the
reasons why the thought of a Renaissance Republicanism,
which is firmy anchored within the real politics of the
21st century would set alarm bells ringing in the Viceroy's
Mansion and beyond. But I have no need, for although times
change, some things remain eternal, thus I will return
again to Pádraig Pearse's words to point out why Irish
patriots, whilst Ireland remains unfree, will turn to
Republicanism, no matter what any transient Republican
leadership may say or do, and thus why the enemies of Irish
Unity will become panicked by the thought of such a coming
together of Irish Republicans.

"They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think
that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the
other half. They think that they have foreseen everything,
think that they have provided against everything; but, the
fools, the fools, the fools! — They have left us our Fenian
dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree
shall never be at peace."


Opin: DUP Miss Partner For Political Dance

By Martina Purdy

BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

In the 1960s, at the height of his success, acclaimed
author Truman Capote threw a glittering black and white
ball at New York's Plaza Hotel to celebrate his good

Every detail of the gala was carefully planned as its
nervous host attempted to dazzle America's elite.

On the night of the ball, a few hours into the evening,
someone reputedly enquired whether the party had been a
success only to be told it was too early to tell.

History at such events, said the man, was only made after

The DUP missed serious opposition in Stormont debate

As the Assembly Speaker sat in her own black and white suit
for day two of this week's economic debate, observing Peter
Robinson in his monochrone suit, might she have wondered
about her role in the drama being played out at Stormont?

Was this event going to be a flop before midnight - or was
history still to be made? How could the Assembly possibly
fail given the feverish efforts aimed at making it a

The debate was, after all, held in the grand setting of
Parliament Buildings, with its elegant walnut panelled

The members had turned up with polished speeches and hopes
of showing off withering debating skills, wit and wisdom.

There was even some mild political flirting between the
Speaker, Eileen Bell, and the DUP's William McCrea.

When she interrupted his impassioned speech to ask if his
remarks were being addressed through her, Mr McCrea
dramatically declared to much mirth: "Madam Speaker, I
would not want to bypass you in any shape or form."

Toe-rag question

And there was even at the outset a lesson in etiquette from
the Speaker.

She pointedly informed members that if they intended to
criticise any elected member from another chamber they must
only refer to their job title, and not their name.

This, she advised, would ensure that the criticism was not

Ian Paisley Jr, as incredulous as his father beside him,

Bye-play between Eileen Bell and William McCrea caused some

He asked with mock innocence if this meant that members
"could then describe the secretary of state as an unhelpful
toe-rag but could not say that Peter Hain was an unhelpful

As for Mr McCrea he was not alone in his party in
delivering a polished and amusing performance.

Sammy Wilson, and Peter Robinson were also among those who
made heroic efforts to entertain.

Indeed, Ian Paisley roared with laughter when Peter
Robinson teased his DUP colleague Nigel Dodds about the
fact that Mr Dodds was not there to hear his wife, Diane
deliver her maiden speech.

"I don't want to fuel any domestic difficulties," said Mr
Robinson," but I was here for my wife's maiden speech."

On a more serious note, Mr Robinson went on to condemn the
"missing members".

And there lies the crux of the DUP's problem: it had no
serious dance partner with which to share its enthusiasm.

Indeed, what was so striking about the end of the debate
was the DUP's leadership's presence opposite rows and rows
of empty Sinn Fein benches.

The DUP leader Ian Paisley, his deputy, Peter Robinson as
well as MPs Nigel Dodds and William McCrea were front and
centre and were the only leadership team there for the

The message seemed clear: the DUP leadership are the ones
who care most about the success of the assembly in its
present form.

Aside from a sprinkling of Ulster Unionist backbenchers,
the debate closed with just four members of the SDLP
present, all looking rather bored, the party leader Mark
Durkan having bowed out rather glumly moments earlier.

Empty benches

The DUP might have been grateful for the SDLP's indulgence
to ensure the debate could take place, but it is often
those who don't turn up that get the most notice.

And in this case, several DUP members lamented Sinn Fein's

Without Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and their team the
debate seemed flatter, weaker, and rather more pointless.

Sinn Fein members had left their benches empty while they
attended their own party meeting: a brainstorming session
on how to build momentum in the run up to 24 November.

Perhaps, after midnight on that date, real history will be
made. But few harbour any real hopes of an historic
accommodation between Sinn Fein and the DUP.

Rather most believe that far from the glittering success of
Capote's ball, this assembly is doomed, destined to leave
those who care most about it with a rather long and painful


Opin: 1926 Fire Tragedy Recalled

On the weekend before last a special Mass was celebrated in
the Catholic church in Dromcollogher, Co Limerick, by the
parish priest, Séamus Ambrose. It was in commemoration of
one of the greatest tragedies to occur in Ireland since
Independence: the cinema fire there on September 5th 1926
in which 48 people were burned to death, writes Vincent

It was a Sunday night and the crowd coming from evening
Benediction in the church thronged with others into an
upstairs loft, where the showing of a film was to take
place, Cecil B. DeMille's Ten Commandments.

The picture-showing was organised by a local hackney
driver, William Forde. The reels of film had been brought
from Cork by a Cork projectionist, who had taken the film
from the metal containers in which they were usually
stored. It seems that the showing of the picture on the
Sunday night was "unofficial".

Cinemas in Cork were closed on Sunday nights, so there was
an entrepreneurial opportunity for an enterprising
projectionist to make some money "on the side", unknown to
the cinema-owners in Cork, who would have been reassured by
the presence of the steel circular film containers.

A generator was at hand to provide electricity for the
projector and lighting for the hall. But for discreet
lighting in the immediate vicinity of the projector, a
candle was lit. Soon into the showing, a piece of the
candle fell off and on to one of the exposed film reels on
the table beside it. The film caught fire immediately.

Someone threw a cap at the flame to extinguish it; the
effect was to spread the fire to the other reels on the
table. Within a minute, the entire building was ablaze.

Many people simply jumped through the fire to get out via
the entrance behind the projector - they had had to climb
up a ladder to get to the loft to gain entrance; now many
of them had to jump down about eight feet.

At the behest of a former IRA man, many others went to the
back of the building. There was no entrance there, but
there were two windows, both protected with iron bars.

During the War of Independence the loft had been used as a
meeting place for the IRA, and to enable them to escape in
the event of a raid the bars on the windows had been
partially sawed through.

This meant that the bars could be pushed out, and people
started to climb out one of the windows. But then a large
woman got stuck in the window. Frantic efforts were made
from the outside to pull her through. I heard recently that
her arm was pulled off. But the people could not release
her, and others were trapped inside.

The 48 people who died represented one-tenth of the
population of Dromcollogher at the time. One entire family
lost their lives - father, mother and two children. It was
said that their dog remained whimpering around the village
for weeks afterwards. Many who died were children. They had
been ushered to the front of the hall to sit there, while
the adults were at the back. Many more who died were people
who went into the hall after the fire had started to rescue
loved ones or neighbours. One of these was William Aherne,
then aged 31, who had rescued his wife and then went back
to save his mother-in-law, Mary O'Callaghan, but both died.

Jeremiah Buckley, the local schoolteacher, along with his
wife Ellen, their daughter Bridget, his brother, Thomas,
and their maid, Nora Kirwin, all perished.

Of the 48 who died that night in such horrific
circumstances, 47 were buried together in a grave in the
grounds of the church in Dromcollogher. Their names and
ages are inscribed on the gravestone.

Messages of sympathy came from all over Ireland, from King
George V, from the Governor of Northern Ireland, the head
of the Jewish community, the Methodist Church, all the

I grew up in the other village of that parish, Broadford,
and was conscious, growing up, of the terrible tragedy that
had occurred. My father had cycled to Dromcollogher that
night when he had heard of the fire while in Newcastle

But very few in Dromcollogher wanted to talk about the
fire. It seems that the trauma was too great for them to
relive any part of it through recalling what had happened.

Last Friday, I met an old schoolmate from Dromcollogher on
the street outside Trinity and he told me that his
grandfather had died in the fire and his grandmother had
never spoken about it for decades afterwards.

Others, who were bereaved, he recalled, had worn black for
the rest of their lives, but they, too, never talked about

W.T. Cosgrave, President of the Executive Council, attended
the funeral, but there was no inquiry. No expression of
sympathy in Dáil Éireann. No urgent legislation mooted to
ensure that such a thing would never happen again.

When pressed on that latter point, the then minister for
home affairs, Kevin O'Higgins, said there was no action in

© The Irish Times


Blix Hails Irish Efforts In Combating Nuclear Threat

12/09/2006 - 20:17:38

Ireland has an excellent track record in the global effort
to rid the world of nuclear weapons, former UN chief
weapons inspector Dr Hans Blix said tonight.

Dr Blix is in Ireland to publicise the report of the
independent Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Commission,
of which he is chairman.

The Weapons of Terror: Freeing the World of Nuclear,
Biological and Chemical Arms contains 60 practical
recommendations to help the international community to
promote disarmament and arms control.

The former Swedish government minister told a new
conference in Leinster House: “All countries in the global
village have a role to play and of course Ireland has a
long and excellent tradition, and is looked to with great

He added: “The only countries in Europe that have nuclear
weapons are Britain and France – and I hope they take good
care of them.”

Dr Blix had earlier addressed a meeting of the Oireachtas
Committee on Foreign Affairs in Leinster House and met with
Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern at Iveagh House.

Mr Ahern described Dr Blix’s report as highly significant
and particularly timely.

He said: “Dr Blix and his international panel of experts
have drawn-up a set of comprehensive proposals which
address the major challenges facing the international
community today if we are to make progress in achieving a
world free from the threat of weapons of mass destruction.
This is an issue of key importance to our foreign policy.

“The report’s emphasis on support for a rules-based
international order applied and enforced through effective
multilateral institutions, with the UN Security Council as
the ultimate global authority, is very much in line with
Ireland’s long-standing policy in this area.

“I note with particular interest the report’s
recommendations regarding nuclear disarmament, a field in
which Ireland has been highly active over the years, most
recently in its capacity as a member of the New Agenda

The New Agenda Coalition (NAC) was launched in Dublin in
June 1998 by the foreign ministers of Brazil, Egypt,
Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Sweden.

The ministers were concerned by the lack of progress in
nuclear disarmament efforts and sought to inject fresh
thinking and a new momentum into multilateral consideration
of these issues.

Mr Ahern noted that Ireland was invited to be become the
first signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT) in 1968.

“Since that time, support for the NPT has been our highest
priority in the field of disarmament and non-
proliferation,” Mr Ahern added.

The Foreign Affairs minister commended Dr Blix for his
leadership on the WMD Commission and wished him well in his
bid to rid the world of all weapons of mass destruction.

The WMD Commission, which was launched by the Swedish
Government in 200, comprises 13 commissioners from all the
continents of the world.

Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Michael Woods
said Dr Blix brought his breadth of wisdom, experience and
balance to bear on the arms control issue.

Dr Blix will tomorrow address a public meeting in Dublin’s
Westin Hotel, hosted by the Forum on Europe.


Strength Of Migration 'Underpins Property Demand'

12/09/2006 - 19:09:54

The strength of migration into Ireland continues to
underpin demand for property according to Sherry
FitzGerald, Ireland’s largest estate agency.

Commenting on the latest estimates from the CSO for
population and migration the chief economist with Sherry
FitzGerald Group, Marian Finnegan noted that: “One of the
key drivers of demand in the property market in recent
years has been the strength of population growth.

"Such population growth continued with even greater vigour
in 2006 with the latest data revealing that the total
number of immigrants to Ireland reached 86,900 in the year
to April 2006, notably the highest figure ever on record
since the present series of annual migration estimates
began in 1987.

"The impact of such strong levels of immigration on the
property market is very direct. Even if one assumes that
one third of all immigrants either buy or rent a property
that suggests a requirement for just short of 30,000 units,
almost a third of all new properties built in the same

"Interestingly, it is also equivalent to the total number
of units in Ireland in 1995, an indication of the strength
of market growth in the intervening period.”

“The stability and strength of our population growth is a
clear indicator of the continued attractiveness of Ireland
as a destination of choice. Such population growth is
positively impacting demand for property as reflected in
the strength of price inflation with the average price of a
second-hand property in Ireland rising by 15% during the
first six months of the year, while the figure for Dublin
came in at 21.2% according to the Sherry FitzGerald
barometer of second-hand house prices.

"That said, it would be foolish to suggest that the pace of
price growth achieved in the first six months of the year
can be repeated in the remainder of the year. The
combination of increased supply - both new and second hand
- and further rate increases will inevitably slow the pace
of price growth to single digit figures in the second half
of the year. This will still make 2006 one of the strongest
on record," said Ms Finnegan.


12 September 2006

Aidan Quinn For Dublin Theatre Festival

Aidan Quinn will join the cast of 'The Exonerated' for part
of its run during the 2006 Dublin Theatre Festival.

A play by Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank, 'The Exonerated'
is a series of intersecting monologues culled from their
interviews with former death-row inmates who were
eventually proven innocent and released.

It has already had successful runs in New York, Edinburgh
and London, with guest cast names including Danny Glover,
Susan Sarandon, Stockyard Channing, Mia Farrow, Alanis
Morissette, Gabriel Byrne and Vanessa Redgrave.

Quinn, who has appeared in Irish-based films including
'Song for a Raggy Boy' (2003), 'This is My Father' (1998)
and 'Michael Collins' (1996), will be one of the guest cast
members during the Dublin run of 'The Exonerated'.

It will be at Liberty Hall Theatre from 29 September to 14
October as part of the 2006 Dublin Theatre Festival.

More information and booking is available online at:

RTÉ is not responsible for the content of external


White House Architect To Be Celebrated

Michael Parsons

The life and work of Kilkenny architect James Hoban, who
designed America's most famous building, the White House,
is to be celebrated by a transatlantic programme of events.

The James Hoban societies in Ireland and the United States
will be hosting events to mark the 175th anniversary of his
death this year and the 250th anniversary of his birth in

At the Irish launch in Kilkenny, chairman of the Ireland
branch Laurie Grace said "the goal is to show how a young
man who learned his trade locally went on to blaze a trail
for many other Irish architects, surveyors, engineers and
craftsmen not only in America but throughout the world".

The commemorations begin with a symposium organised by the
Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government at Kilkenny Castle later this month, with
speakers including William Seale, author of the definitive
history of the White House.

The Office of Public Works is designing a permanent
memorial park at Hoban's birthplace outside Callan,
expected to cost about €150,000 and due to open in 2008.
The programme is also being funded by the commemoration
initiatives fund of the Department of the Taoiseach and
Tourism Ireland.

In the US, a major temporary exhibition is planned at the
White House visitors' centre, which receives over 600,000
visitors annually. Organisers are exploring venues and
funding to transfer the exhibition to a permanent home in
Co Kilkenny.

Hoban, who was born on the estate of the Earl of Desart
near Callan in 1758, trained as a wheelwright and carpenter
before going to Dublin to study architecture.

He emigrated to the US in 1785 where his work in
Charleston, South Carolina came to the attention of George

© The Irish Times

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